Inspired by my many musical friends, I'll be using three posts over the next few weeks to focus on the first, middle, and last names of classical European composers! While many of the last names might not work so well in front, they could be a cute middle - Adrian Mendelssohn, anyone?
I'll also be including a music accompaniment for each composer, courtesy of YouTube.
Franz Liszt (Liszt Ferencz)
At one point considered the greatest pianist of all time, Franz Lizst was an Hungarian composer in the 19th century, famous for his "Années de pèlerinage" (below). Franz is the German variation of Francis - "free man" or "Frenchman" - while Ferencz is the Hungarian variation (pronounced "fair-ENTS). Definitely unusual - neither name is in the top 1000 - and could make a cool honorific or heritage choice.
Frédéric François Chopin (Fryderyk Franciszek Chopin)
A personal favorite, Chopin was a major composer for the piano during the Romantic era. His turbulent life included an affair with French author George Sand (Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin) as well as periodic serious illnesses. Frédéric and François are established French names, with easy English equivalents, but I think Chopin could be a usable name for any gender: the -in ending, two-syllable form and similarity to Colin or Shannon make it at least recognizable.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart)
Arguably one of the most famous classical composers, Mozart composed over 600 pieces before his death at age 35. He was a musical prodigy and larger-than life personality, with an influence still visible today. As for the many names attached to him, my picks are Amadeus and Theophilus. Both follow the current ends-in-s trend - Jonas, Elias, Miles - and each has a great religious meaning - Amadeus means "lover of God" and Theophilus means "friend of God".
Ludwig von Beethoven
Famous for going deaf but continuing to compose, Beethoven is one of the most recognized composers today. He worked in the Austrian empire during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, creating dozens of works. Though Ludwig means "famous warrior", I think this name is probably best left alone.
Vivaldi was an Italian Baroque composer, famous for his Four Seasons. He was highly influential on later composers as well. While Antonio is a classic, Vivaldi could be another all-gender standout - it's close to Vivian and Vincent, but much more lively and dynamic. And the current trend of Italian names might not make this such a unique choice in later years.
George Frideric Handel (Georg Friedrich Händel)
Regarded as one of the best composers of the Baroque era, the German-born Handel was a fixture in London during the first part of the 18th century. His music is still used today at every British coronation ceremony. George, meaning "farmer", has jumped in popularity recently due to another British royal family member, and I think this classic and cute name deserves to keep rising.
Tune in soon for more posts in the series!